Five months after the alleged incident, a Yazoo County high school principal was indicted by a Grand Jury for accessory after the fact in connection with a school security officer who allegedly choked a male student last year.
Philip Turner, the principal at Yazoo County High School, was indicted with accessory after the fact on Jan. 31 in Yazoo County Circuit Court. The indictment said that Turner intended to “enable the felon, Samuel Carter, to escape or to void arrest, trial, conviction or punishment…”
Turner’s indictment stems from an incident at the local high school on Aug. 30, when a 17-year-old student accused school security officer Carter of pushing him inside the school’s restroom for females and choking him. Carter, 49, was charged with aggravated assault last September.
Turner filed a motion of recusal three days after his indictment against District Attorney Akillie Malone-Oliver, stating that the DA has “a conflict of interest” in the case. Turner also asked that her staff be recused from the case and requested that the court appoint the state attorney general’s office to oversee the case.
However, Malone-Oliver submitted a response to Turner’s request two days later, stating that his motion is based on “frivolous and unfounded” allegations that “reek with desperation.”
Turner’s Motion for Recusal
Turner said he felt that Malone-Oliver has “a personal vendetta” against him and is unable to carry out her duty as district attorney in this case. As principal, he said that he has had disciplinary issues with her son, who is a student at Yazoo County High School.
Turner’s motion said that he “has disciplined Attorney Oliver’s son, and District Attorney Oliver has appeared before the Yazoo County School Board several times seeking to have Principal Turner reprimanded and her son’s adverse disciplinary action reversed, to no avail.”
Turner said that Malone-Oliver has accused him of hitting her son’s head against a locker, which he said was “merely an accusation unsupported by evidence…”
Turner also said Malone-Oliver and her husband had to be removed from his office and escorted off campus after being “irate” following a conference on their son’s behavior. He said the DA then went to the district’s central office to complain about the incident, and that he “was not disciplined for this either.”
Turner said Malone-Oliver frequently texted and called his personal cell phone after hours and on weekend. He also said she “brought several women from her office to the Yazoo County High School for a ‘field trip’ for no other reason but to meet Principal Turner.”
Malone-Oliver’s Response to Recusal Motion
Malone-Oliver filed her response to Turner’s recusal motion two days later, asking that the court deny his motion and “sanction the Defendant, Philip Turner’s girlfriend and attorney for complete and blatant falsehoods that were relayed to the County without any factual basis to support the allegation in the frivolous and unfounded Motion…”
Malone-Oliver said the case against Turner has nothing to do with her son or her family. She said she has been prosecuting cases for over a decade, and “it is customary for many defendants to claim a prosecuting attorney may have a vendetta against him or her to deflect his or her own guilt…”
Malone-Oliver said Turner’s allegations “reek with desperation,” citing that there is no evidence to support them.
Malone-Oliver said she has never appeared before the county school board to complain about Turner or ask that he be reprimanded. Superintendent Dr. Ken Barron told The Herald that Malone-Oliver has visited his office but has not appeared before the school board.
Malone-Oliver said Turner placed his hand around her son’s neck and, despite requests for him to let go, pinned her son against the wall and scratched him in the process, drawing blood, which stained Turner’s shirt. “…Defendant Turner admitted that he placed his hand against the Minor’s neck and drew blood from him,” her response reads. “However, he stated that he was just ‘playing’ with him and proceeded to apologize for his actions. District Attorney Lover merely accepted his apology and moved on.”
Malone-Oliver also said she was never removed from Turner’s office following a conference. She said she never raised her voice and was asked to leave after Turner “could not give a legitimate reason for suspending her son.” She added that Turner later rescinded her son’s suspension and apologized.
Malone-Oliver said all communication with Turner was “clearly professional.” She said that the claims she brought people to the school on “a field trip” to see Turner was “blatantly false and too ridiculous to merit a response.”
Malone-Oliver told the court that she is able to handle the case and does not need assistance from the attorney general’s office. Aside from her request to deny Turner’s motion, she also asked the court to “impose sanctions on the opposing counsel for making false, derogatory and unfounded accusations against District Attorney Oliver therein.”